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A series of tests with drones at a wind farm in the North Sea was completed to provide further insight into how the technology could play an important role in the renewable energy field.

The tests were carried out in the 309 megawatt Rentel offshore wind farm by DEME Offshore and Sabca, a Belgian aerospace company.

According to an announcement from DEME Offshore earlier this week, the trial focused on several areas including turbine inspections, environmental surveys and package deliveries.

Part of the pilot was to use an automated drone to conduct a search and rescue demonstration, using infrared detection to locate the target before throwing a lifebuoy into the sea.

“We believe that these innovative, advanced technologies, which focus on fully autonomous operations without the need for ships and people offshore, have breakthrough potential to increase safety and reduce the impact on the environment reduce the operational and maintenance phase of a project. ” and reduce overall costs, “said Bart De Poorter, General Manager at DEME Offshore, in a statement. The term” O&M “refers to operations and maintenance.

Details of the experiment at the Rentel facility follow an announcement last week that researchers in the UK were attempting to use drone technology to locate marine energy facility sites.

The 12-month project will be led by researchers from the University of the Highlands and Islands in Scotland and will also involve researchers from Bangor University and Swansea University in Wales.

According to the UHI, drones are used to “film the movement of water and then apply algorithms to determine its speed”. The team will conduct tests in a variety of weather conditions in Ramsey Sound, Wales and Pentland Firth, Scotland.

The pilot’s basic idea is that compared to current techniques that use seabed sensors and survey vessels, drones could offer a cheaper and more rational approach to finding potential spots to install tidal turbines.

The use of drones in the energy sector is well established. Back in 2019, researchers in the UK said they had developed autonomous drones that could be used to inspect offshore energy sites.

In 2018, Air Control Entech and the Oil & Gas Technology Center launched three drones that could broadcast live offshore inspections and perform three-dimensional laser scanning and ultrasonic tests.